Damaris a mother of four girls in Trans
Nzoia county, Site and Service Estate Kitale, narrates the pain and torture she
underwent through the hands of her in-laws for being the mother of ‘girls’. Her
marriage has been through thick and thin with demands from both the husband and
in-laws for a baby boy. This sparkled lots of fight for many years in her
Mama John calming her one-year-old son
John before the interview.
“They made me feel like being a mother
of only girls is a condemnation. The pressure from my sister in-laws was worse
and hurting. This caused lots of conflict in my marriage. My marriage was at a
stake and almost ending due to lack of a son as demanded by my family. This was
a trying moment in my life,” she says.
With pressure being beyond her control,
Mama Purity was afraid to get pregnant because of the fear of having another
daughter who would have caused ‘Misery’ in her life and more abuses from her
in-laws. Getting pregnant was her biggest fear. She discovered she was pregnant
again when her 4th daughter was 3 years old. This was the beginning of her pain
” The insults I have received resulted
for pregnancy being one of my worst fears and nightmare that I wouldn’t have
imagined would happen again because I knew it was a girl. I prayed wishing that
not even for once would I have to be pregnant. Discovering that I was pregnant
was too much pian than it has to bring joy to any woman and mother. I couldn’t
imagine being pregnant again and worse, to tell my husband that I was pregnant,”
Revealing the news to her husband was another pain she didn’t
imagine and that she had to keep it for herself and look for another way out.
Abortion. Being a mother for her was no longer joyful but painful. She didn’t want it no more. The four girls
were enough and we’re never her joy but frustrations only. She didn’t imagine
going through another tunnel of insults and despise from her family members
that were to be her support system. Getting rid of the pregnancy was the last
option she had to keep her short-lived happiness.
“That was abortion. I knew he wouldn’t notice so it was the
very fast option and without hesitation I started looking out for the
medications unnoticed to carry out the abortion without traces but none was
successful,” she explains.
The silence after breaking the news to her husband was discouraging
that she knew he had concluded it was a girl again. With the finances being a
challenge taking a scan to determine the gender of the child was unsuccessful
and all that was left was to attend the clinical checks for her unborn baby
till the end hoping it will be a turn of a new chapter. That was the longest of
all her pregnancy journey.
“His silence was more painful than the insults from his family.
It was discouraging. Motherhood had turned into being my worst pain. I was
unable to do the gender scan due to finances. I accepted and started my
clinical checks,” she says.
It was tears of joy when she held her son in her arms in April 2019.
This revived her lost joy for the past nine months she was pregnant. Her son
meant a new chapter in her life. The joy was unbearable and she couldn’t wait
to break the news to her husband. His first cry was her relief.
Like all other children, baby John Omondi has remained to always be
his mother’s hope of joy in her marriage despite not being able to move a year
later. He was born with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of
disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and
Some of the parents with their children suffering from cerebral
palsy at the therapy center. (Image courtesy).
“It was a relief in my family a “boy child” has been born in the family. But has since not been able to
make a move like all other normal kids,” cries his mother out.
With therapies and regular exercise done at home by her mother, she
hopes that one day her son will be able to walk and move around by himself.
“We have been visiting Kitale District Hospital where he has
been undergoing his therapies to help him move around. Despite the year being
challenging due to the pandemic, the progress since we started has been
impressive,” she adds.
Her story not so different from the late Mama Namukhula’s story a
mother of quadruplets who suffered rejection, humiliation and torture due to
oppressive cultural stands held by her elders. That has made a majority of
women to undergo stress and humiliation in the name of upholding the culture.
Cultural beliefs are not meant to be oppressive but a pride and sense of
belonging to people as it is said.